14 May 2014

Indian Hunters - How Seneca Indians Capture Young Pigeons

Bradford Era, May 5.

A number of Seneca Indians accompanied by several squaws from the Allegheny reservation have been in the wild pigeons "nesting" country below Kane for two weeks past. The Indians care nothing for ground birds. Their delicate palates crave the more tender and savory meat of the squab. In the pursuit of the latter game no expenditure of powder and lead is necessary. The pigeons build their nests in the heavy boughs of the trees and when the squabs have attained a growth sufficient to fly to the ground they cut loose from the maternal apron string and grow quite plump on beech nuts.

It is at this stage of the pigeon's life that they are most acceptable to the sons of the forest. The Indians frequently, however, do not wait until the squabs descend to their feast of beech nuts. In their impatience they cut the trees and are much worse than the bad boys we read about in the Sunday School books, who rob birds' nests. They capture all the poor little things which have come into this big, curious world and render them lifeless by crushing their tender skulls between the thumb and finger. The birds are then turned over to the squaws, who immediately embowel and cure them, roasting and smoking them over a green wood fire. It is said that unless the intestines of the squabs are at once removed after death the flesh is tainted by the curd in their stomachs and rendered unfit for eating. While the squaws are thus busied the braves are at work catching others and chopping down more trees. The party of Senecas spoken of as being in the nesting country a few days ago were unfortunate in the time of their arrival. The first hatching of young birds had grown large enough and sufficiently strong of wing to defy their red-skin captors, while the second generation of squabs were just breaking the shell. The Indians had taken a limited amount of food, depending upon the fruits of their toil to supply them. They returned home on Monday a hungry lot, indeed. One of the Indians said that they were almost on the verge of starvation while in the woods. They had taken no fire-arms with them and were consequently unable to bring the full-grown birds to the ground to relieve their hunger.

May 7, 1880. Indian hunters. How the Senecas capture young pigeons in Pennsylvania - nearly starved to death. Rochester Daily Union and Advertiser 55(109): 1.